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Account takeovers and email threats in 2019

Account takeover is one of the biggest threat vectors in the cybersecurity industry, says Asaf Cidon, VP Email Security, Barracuda Networks.

“More and more organisations are getting hit, and the attacks are getting more and more targeted. Attackers are moving away from the relatively standard phishing email, as they are finding that strategically targeting business executive accounts is much more lucrative. In 2019, the level of personalisation in these attacks will reach new heights. Specific tactics that are beginning to gain traction include:

“An attacker will know when an executive is on flight and won’t be on email that day, and will choose that time frame to target one of their subordinates by impersonating the executive. An attacker will know that their target is going to make a big purchase, so they will jump in right before the transaction takes place to redirect the funds or change the order information.

“These are just a few examples of how attackers will up the ante by making account takeovers and email attacks so personalised that even the most savvy of targets can be fooled. In that vein, a big problem in cybersecurity that will grow even bigger is that of identity — how do we know if someone is really who they say they are? This challenge will be exacerbated as more organisations continue to move to the cloud and remote logins becomes more common. In 2019 public cloud security will become more automated, and attackers will get stealthier.”

And Tim Jefferson, VP, Public Cloud at Barracuda says that the public cloud market is maturing, and expect to see a huge appetite for cloud security in 2019. “Businesses aren’t just experimenting with the public cloud anymore, and now that more customers have critical infrastructure and workloads on platforms like AWS and Microsoft Azure, they’re realising they need purpose-built cloud security solutions to help them protect workloads moving to these platforms.

“As workload migration accelerates to the public cloud, security risk professionals will need to get more actively involved in their DevOps team’s processes, so they can automate the application of governance and compliance controls. It’s not about dictating what tools the team uses, but verifying that controls are being met and helping the builders build securely. After all, configuration errors can be easy to make as people try to use new cloud services they might not fully understand. That’s why I expect to see more teams embracing automation to continuously monitor cloud security and remediate problems automatically.

“Providing these types of automated cloud security controls will be more important than ever in the year ahead because cyber criminals are getting better at finding compromised credentials or access keys and exploiting them. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 80 percent of cloud breaches will be due to customer misconfiguration, mismanaged credentials, or insider theft, not cloud provider vulnerabilities. Cyber criminals will also get more clever at using compromised accounts in ways that will be difficult to detect. Instead of using a massive amount of new resources for cryptomining, which causes a noticeable spike in usage, they’re starting to use already-approved resources and stealing some cycles from those instead, which is easier to hide. I expect to see more attacks like that in 2019.”


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